Cold? Hay Fever? Whatever just stop dribbling snot!

Argh so i finally admited to having a cold.  And it took 3 days and now I think it is gone. But the sniffles continue and now I am back to thinking the underlying evil lurking hayfever continues to wreak havoc with me.  I get all hyper and my mind races before I go to bed (very weird for me) and then I sleep like the dead and awake somewhere after 8 am.  Also strange for me – I normally come to consciousness rather easily, dozing awake for a while.  Even with DH’s lattes wafting under my nose in the mornings I can’t shake the heavy sleep.  I blame hay fever.  Must make a trip to the drug store and get me some quercetin bromelain and stinging nettle.  Sigh. Maybe acupuncture? I will try anything to not have to dose up daily on Mr. Glaxosmithklein.

Remember the KAL for the Shur’tugal?  I’ve done a  jazzy pattern update on Ravelry and corrected the spelling of my poor Dragon Rider.  It is a free PDF download and is sized for A4 paper (have put the direct download below).   I love the way it looks and I think it is much clearer than the original.   Get yourself some STR and come join the KAL!


Super Spinning (rebel knit) Saturday

Poop still no RSC parcel (Penny: RSC=Rockin’ Sock Club – Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ sock club).  😦 Maybe Monday….

Wonderful Saturday – morning was our monthly Sat Spin-in, except it was a rebel knit spin-in as we all knitted instead. Had the loveliest afternoon chatting with some of the friendliest knitters ever.   That is definitely one of the best perks in owning a yarn shop – having a good old natter with fellow knitters.

Almost done updating my Shur’tugal pattern, am embarrassed to find that I’ve been misspelling Dragon Rider – Shur’tUgal, not Shur’tAgal. Oops.  Should be done tomorrow with new charts and photos.

And now time for dinner – David’s cooked pork belly confit with savoy cabbage and mashed potatoes.  Yummy!

It’s that time…

when RSC parcels start to land.  They’ve landed in Canada, in New Zealand, in Austria, in Clerkenwell & Ealing! But not at chez moi! ! ! Waaaaaaaaah!

And i have a cold. Despite my best efforts at convincing myself that it is hayfever (mind over matter, right?) it is dawning on me that I am deluded and I have a stinky cold. Stinky. Poop.

Around this time I tend to stalk the postman and can’t help asking ‘anything for me?’   Still nothing from Scapoose… but I did get this:

Lovely Joan thank you!  What a perfect thing to brighten anyones day. Alpaca/Merino sock yarn and gorgeous little stitchmarkers.  Now to find the right pattern…..

Socks Socks and more Socks!


This weekend was all about the Cookie.  Cookie A, sock guru extraordinaire came to London to give her Sock Design class at Socktopus.  A lovely perso & a talented designer, it was such a treat to have her. Never heard of Cookie? Check her out here on Knitting Daily (just got this today in email! way to go Cookie!)

Hot on the heels of her soon to be available book Sock Innovation, Cookie’s class focussed on the design process for socks, structure, pattern, texture and practical considerations for the fabric.  Cable suckage beware!  We got to thumb through an advance copy of her book – gorgeous socks, and really great diagrams and instruction.  Can’t wait to get these into the shop.  I want to knit all the socks in there!


Ali made orange muffins, and we had cookies and cupcakes from Bittersweet Bakers


As you would imagine, there was a lot of serious planning and consulting for the socks-to-be:

The classes were full of eager and imaginative knitters.


Lovely Lily!

Jen and the darling Woolley (class just wouldn’t be the same without him!)

Designers in the making… poring over reference books and making notes.  They look so studious!


Happy yarn cuddlers Barbara & Gerri.

And the famous Monkey.  I am touching THE Monkey!!  DSC_0008

And here is the Pomatomus. THE Pomatomus. And yes that’s me touching it.  Heart be still!


Happy sock designers getting much needed fuel for their designer mojo.


I think the Sat class had a lot of sugar – or maybe just Cookie?  There are 15 Cookie socks in the picture.  A prize for the first person to name all the socks in the photo – put your answers in the comments. Good luck!


Thanks Cookie for a fab weekend and sock inspiration extraordinaire.  Long Live the SOCK.

C is for Cookie!

Yippee weekend here and Cookie arriving tonight for her Sock Design class this weekend. Looking forward to it- we’ve got cakes and cookies for the hardworking designers in training, and hopefully will be able to find somewhere for a drink and some food after class (though with the chelsea game on at home on Sat we may need to venture a little further afield to escape the sea of blues).

We did the second Winebeerexpress Taste & Tweet last night with some yummy wines – Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc and a gorgeous Baron de Ley Rioja. I liked the Villa Maria – really easy summer drinking, but my fave was the Rioja (am a sucker for rioja!) I love that it has body but is nice and mellow – no hard edges – without being wussy.  Very ‘my name is Inigo Montoya’ and all that.

Oh and something that made my knitting soul flush pink and dance around like a merry little fairy high on absinthe…. do you remember my Shur’tagal socks?  Well, it was voted as this quarter’s KAL sock in the Socks that Rawk (STR fans) group on Ravelry.   Darling muggles may wonder why this is a big deal – let me explain:

Firstly a KAL is an awesome thing – the power of a critical mass behind your creation, knitting it so that others see it and they also catch the bug and hopefully they will knit it too – so your wee little sock babe goes forth in the world to grow up and shod (or sockd?) new feet… but this KAL is a little different and is very dear to my socky heart – the KAL is specifically for Tina’s sock yarn Socks That Rock. Er, if you’ve seen my previous post you will know that I have an out of control addiction am a huge HUGE fan.  So my sock being chosen for an STR KAl is just… cartwheels and wheelies and soaring through the air on a ray of sunshine comes close to describing my euphoria.

Secondlly, Socks That Rock, or STR as we socky knitters call it, has a gazillion colourways.  Tina is a colour magician and truly does have a ton of colourways. What you see on her website is only a fraction of the colourways she has created and continues to create.  She rotates them on and off the site so some get ‘rested’ while others enjoy the spotlight.  The thing is, with so many colourways, and for us not in the US near a LYS that carries it, the only way to get it is to order it online – sight unseen bar the wee photo on the website.

Some genius socky soul thought up a KAL where everyone  would knit the same sock, but in a different STR colourway so we could see how the different colourways knit up.   Why is this genius I can hear you asking? Let me show you.   When I order the yarn,  the photo depicts the yarn skeined up like this:

Tina’s site also has a small thumbnail of the yarn with all the colours in the skein next to each other – not unlike how the colours mix when wound up into a yarn cake, like so:

Colours pretty yes? Any idea how it will look when knit up? Stripes of gold or flashes of it only? Ahem.  You see the difficulty then.

Ths is where socky genius comes into its own: knit it up and that is when the olour magic happens.  This is what happens (more or less, much depends on the size and gauge of the knitted item):

So you see the value of having a group of knitters knit up all the different colours using the same canvas – how it makes it so much less of a ‘close your eyes and hope for the best’ way of purchasing a yarn. You get to see how all the different skeins ‘grow up’ and how the colours interplay.   I might never have thought I’d like the colourway above, Rainforest Jasper in Lightweight STR, if I hadn’t seen them in the flesh when I first met Stariel in Seattle last year. Fell in love with the colourway as soon as I saw them. Makes me think of the Rockies and the deep forest of Banff – jadeite with veins of gold quartz… purdy!

In the first quarter we did the Leyburn Sock – 213 people signed up to knit the sock.  Pretty amazing.  And here is a screen shot of all the different leyburns from page 1 of the KAL project thumbnails.

(Click on image to embiggen)

There are 8 more pages like this one!  So at the end of Q2 KAL with the Shur’tagals, I’ll have the privilege and honour of seeing my wee socks knit up in a hundred or so colourways!  haha and I’ll also be able to choose my STR colours more accurately. 🙂  How exciting is that? Oh and a head’s up – I’m updating the pattern and re-editing it for clarity – taking into consideration some comments from previous knitters of the sock. A new version will be available before the official start of the KAL. Will post more details here and on the pattern page at Ravelry. Stay tuned!

Aaaaand sold! To the lady in the back with the flower in her cap…

Cookie is coming this weekend for her class – yay!  There are 3 spots left on the Sunday class: you never know you may have a budding sock designer inside you just waiting for an opportunity to learn from the master! 😉  We’re getting Cookie’s new book in at the end of the month so you will be able to preorder them shortly.

We live near an auction house… in fact we have lived near one for the last 3 years – our old flat was around the corner one and we now live up the road from another, but we had never actually bid for anything, until now.  We placed our first bid a couple weeks ago on a haberdashery chest (I love those glass fronted chests – Luke’s place on Gilmore Girls is filled with exactly the kind of furniture I love) but it was too low and the owner wasn’t willing to go below the reserve. 😦  But last weekend DH found a big chest of drawers that he liked and I didn’t object to (we have pretty differing tastes but seem to agree on campaign furniture and nice shiny richly coloured wood).  I also stumbled on  a massive chinese style trunk… so we put a bid on them, and won both!  DH came to the shop on Sunday after the gavel had fell on our items and I pretty much screamed with joy. I think I might have startled Meg, Sarah & Jennifer a bit (lovely ex-lawyer (yeah for another escapee!!), legal librarian &  scientist -check out her earthling baby hat designed by Jennifer for her friend’s baby- cutest baby ever!) who were knitting away and chatting.  Sorry!

Anyways here are our new olds (not really antiques, just antique looking).

The Chinese Trunk – Mahogany

I am not sure it will stay at the foot of our bed – I think we’ve got a few too many big pieces up there. Maybe in the guest room once we’ve sorted it out.

And the big chest of drawers. This baby has deeeeeeep drawers.


It just fits in the corner and very happily covers up the nasty piece of stained carpet/ripped up carpet by the door.  The chest was incredibly filthy when we brought it home – we had to use a wet cloth to wipe out the drawers, rinse the cloth, and repeat 3 times before it was in a state to use any of the wood cleaner we had.  But in the end the dark insides turned rosy and finally the cloths came away clean instead of blackened. Not sure where the thing had been, clearly somewhere incredible grimy.

And – well the main purpose for these new storage bits is not so much for clothing but for my yarn collection.


I love that everything has its own drawer… the chest is pretty full now…
Top left drawer is for *ahem* swatches and wound yarn cakes…(these are certainly not WIPs per se… I like to think of them as large swatches….).

Top right is sweater and large project yarns.

Middle left is japanese  (noro, habu) and handspun.

Middle right is other weights – DK, Lace, Aran etc.

My large swatch & cake drawer


And the best for last…. the heart of my collection is in the bottom 2 drawers (the deepest and therefore biggest): SOCK YARN


The right drawer is dedicated to STR. I think I have to put a moratorium on getting any new STR until I use some up since no more will fit in there. 😦 Happily I have a Shur’tagal KAL and the Rainforest Jasper will go – and I have a shawl/scarf planned with 2 of the heavy weight skeins… room to maneovre means SEX hopes… (please gutter minded people read the glossary!)

Another view. Sigh. LOVE (1,000,000,000).

There is a possibility the yarn will get moved to the trunk….I’ve got some clear sweater bags coming so some moving around will happen.  One day I will get a whole wall of those draper’s drawers and will be able to see all my yarn through the glass fronts.  But for now this works a treat.

Yarnimals! Baa Baa little sheep, have you any wool?


These little guys are gorgeous Yarnimals stitchmarkers and will arrive in the shop this coming week. In the photo they haven’t had their sterling silver findings fitted yet.  They will all be small stitchmarkers –  fitting up to 3.25mm needles (US3).  Little guys are going to need homes! 🙂 No wool here but cuteness in spades surely makes up for it?